Happy customers making a purchase at a cafe.
From having a defined company culture to engaging with customers and followers on social media, there are many ways to pique the interest of qualified candidates when hiring. — Getty Images/FG Trade

Attracting top talent to your business can be difficult. With a rise in remote work environments and flexible schedules, candidates are focused on incentives and innovation.

To acquire the best workers in today’s competitive world, here are nine creative and effective ways to attract employees to your business.

Create a consistent message

Your business began as a vision. By identifying the values driving this vision, create your business’s message — its unique “why.” Your message should communicate what your business stands for and how it represents itself.

Clearly explaining the “why” behind a vision is important for attracting customers, but it’s also a built-in pre-screening tool for recruitment. By creating a message that’s well-known and consistently expressed, candidates who align with your values and business purpose will be more likely to apply to your open positions.

Develop an employer brand that reflects your business

Your employer brand is essentially your business’s “personality.” Beyond slogans and alluring color schemes, a strong brand is connected to a larger purpose. Your business can’t solve major social issues (e.g., climate change, affordable healthy options or a more inclusive world) alone, but connecting your brand to greater efforts brings inspiration and fulfillment to work tasks. Individuals who are committed to the real-world issue your brand tackles will be more motivated to join your contribution to the cause.

[Read more: 6 Recruiting Strategies to Improve Your Talent Pipeline]

Define your company culture

Company culture is the day-to-day modeling of values aligned with your message and brand. With a defined company culture, you can provide the right environment for employees to meet their own needs while working toward business goals. A healthy company culture will retain your employees and create an attractive space for new talent.

Keep in mind that all employees should have a voice in company experience, and accountability should look the same at all levels. Through those types of interactions, your wider team can co-create and promote the culture to prospective new employees.

Networking with other professionals provides insight into what other businesses are doing for their employees and how this compares with your operations and offerings.

Treat your current employees with respect

When you respect your employees, you honor their contributions and voice, and foster their individual differences, talents and interests.

Without respect, employees are likely to be less motivated, and commitment and innovation suffer. By acknowledging employees and bringing them into company decisions, their effort and commitment will be higher. This positive morale will shine through and help you attract new employees who want to feel valued.

Offer competitive benefits/perks

Post-pandemic, many larger companies that went remote aren’t planning to return to their physical offices. Your business may want to follow their lead — this flexibility is a major attraction to many candidates across all industries.

Outside of the workspace, tap into your resources and connections to give employees options and discounts that support their wellness and financial security. You may not be able to offer the exact benefits and perks of your larger counterparts, but you can creatively mirror what they offer to remain competitive.

[Read more: Perks That Small Businesses Can Offer Employees]

Network with potential talent at virtual and in-person industry events

Networking with other professionals provides insight into what other businesses are doing for their employees and how this compares with your operations and offerings. It also expands opportunities with potential long-term gains and can help you find new hires through events or conversations. Additionally, you may find partners or clients who accelerate your business’s growth in the future — creating attractive projects for prospective employees and the need for new talent.

Build relationships with local higher education institutions

If your business is eager to hire and develop entry-level talent, it’s wise to invest in relationships with higher education institutions. You can connect with university career centers to list job postings for interns and new graduates, participate in career fairs and develop a talent pipeline of students who are eager to gain work experience in their field.

Host an open house

It’s easier to sell the benefits and opportunities of your business if potential hires get to know your message and culture first-hand. By hosting an open house, you can showcase the very best of your business and engage in conversations that go beyond job postings and mission statements.

An open house also has the benefit of attracting varied talent — including backgrounds and skills not currently matched to a vacancy or anticipated position. Interacting with individuals in a less formal, lower-stakes environment gives you space to consider new potential.

Be active on social media

Even when not actively searching for work, people engage with businesses on social media. If your business provides customers (and potential employees) content that goes beyond promotion, you’ll build an affinity with your audience. These positive feelings and trust will give your business a lead over others, especially when you’re working to acquire new talent.

Being active on social media gives your audience something to react to, starting a conversation that will further engage them. Because of this, social media is only helpful if it’s done well. Decide on the platform(s) that best communicate to your audience, and work on a consistent content schedule.

[Read more: 5 Tips for Using Social Media to Recruit Employees]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published July 12, 2021